State plans to hire 12,000 healthcare workers yearly

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2022 00:04 | By
Labour Cabinet Secretary Simon Chelugui during a past function. PD/file

The government plans to recruit 12,000 healthcare workers annually to meet the World Health Organisation (WHO) requirements.

Labour Cabinet Secretary Simon Chelugui says the recruitment plan is part of the government’s efforts to address human resource challenges and deficit facing the sector after an agreement reached during the just-concluded national health workers Convention.

Chelugui, who was closing the Convention at Safari Park Hotel said there is political goodwill to allocate at least 15 percent of the annual national budget to the health sector as per the pledge by the Heads of State in Abuja, Nigeria in 2001.

“Today I have had an opportunity to listen to the resolutions of this convention, one among them, raising the number of health workers employed annually in the health sector bringing the total to 12,000 WHO threshold,” he said.

The Minister said for the country to progress well to Universal Health Coverage (UHC) programme, the need to allocate 15 percent to the health sector could not have come at a better time.

“From our perspective at the Labour Ministry, the health sector is important, and any industrial dispute has a potential of disrupting all the other sectors; economically, socially and even the health of our people,” said the CS underlining the importance of social dialogue between employers and employees.

Subsequently, the CS called on employers to reopen the suspended Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBAs) with workers in the health sector to fast track the stalled negotiations.

“I have announced that now it is important for employers to re-open negotiations with their employees on the suspended CBAs, which we signed in 2020, towards an amicable agreement,” he said.

He lauded the health workers for providing ground for peaceful negotiations that gave the ministry an opportunity to establish an ad hoc committee to enable employers and employees to sit on the same table for consensus.

The health workers had demanded the government develop a model strategy for the implementation of annual employment of health care workers to meet the WHO 2013 recommendation of 12,000 per year.

“We are also calling on the government to prioritise increase in financial allocation in the budget for health towards the realisation of the 15 percent baseline envisioned by Abuja Declaration of 2001,” the health workers asked in the resolutions.

They also called for development of a joint strategy for effective Human Resource for Health management and harmonisation across the county governments.

“We are calling for quarterly meetings between workers representatives and employers to discuss challenges before they become disputes,” they said at the conclusion of the meeting dubbed; Building Back Better: A sustainable, resilient HRH for post-Covid recovery and attainment of UHC.

During the discussions, the health workers revisited issues that resulted in a prolonged industrial strike that saw them down tools for months during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The health care workers put the government on the spot for failing to respond on the issues even as talk of the next pandemic are becoming dominant. Some of those issues border on compensation for injuries and infections at the workplace; staffing; remuneration and equipment especially during the Covid-19 pandemic period.

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